Be A Light

I feel like a broken record in every blog saying that we are all living in crazy times right now . Between COVID and the ongoing riots and general unrest in this country it feels like the world as we know it is quickly vanishing right before our eyes . It is easy to see why all these circumstances have contributed to everyone feeling fear, panic, uncertainty, and hopelessness. In the beginning of this difficult time we all still had a little bit of hope. I don’t know about you, but I thought everything would be fine. I still had hope. I thought the upheaval that COVID has caused would last a few weeks and then life would be back to the way we knew it. In fact if you watched the news there were moments when that hope was given to us. It would be reported the shutdown would be two weeks, then they would add another week then another and finally the weeks turned to months and very slowly our hopes began to disappear as no end was in sight. To add to it, then came the rioting that caused an unrest in communities that were already heavily burdened with fear.

With everything in disarray it is so hard not to become depressed, fearful , hopeless , and yes even bitter sometimes . I can tell you I struggle with this myself. I have to make a choice everyday to get up and pray that I do not let the world and my feelings drag me down. This is very hard to do, but I can tell you that one thing that has helped me overcome these feelings is the decision that I wanted to be a light to others. I realize everyone is struggling not just me . Most people are having the exact same feelings that I am. Which made me think deeply about the situation. I first started with myself what would make me feel better under the current circumstances? What would others possbily need to make them feel better and be filled with hope? Here are some suggestions that I have compiled that may help you become a light to others.

  • Look in your own heart first. Chances are the things that you seek in a time of darkness is also what others are needing as well. For me, I hate the feeling of loneliness. I want to know that I am not alone, and that there are others that are there with me. Things that help me feel better? Getting a text or call from a friend. My husband or daughters being close always makes me feel less lonely and secure. It is important to remember that, especially now, everyone is going through the same thing. Look into your own heart and that will help guide you on how to help others.
  • Just because we have to be away from each other doesn’t mean you cannot reach out to others. Text your friends to check on them. Send cards or goodie bags in the mail. Keep in touch, even if it is from a distance. Make sure to let others know that you are there even though you may be away.
  • Offer help, espcially to those that may be more vulnerable or may not have others to assist them. Run errands for the elderly, or others who may not be able to get out. Drop off groceries or neccessities to these individuals even if they don’t ask for it. Make them a dinner and leave it for them. Do whatever you can to assist others to let them know they are cared for and not alone.
  • Ask people how they are, just because they may smile on a Face-Time call, doesn’t mean they are ok. Be deligent in asking and be sure to listen if you notice they need to talk. Let them be open and you be open and honest in return.
  • Smile. Yes, simple as that smile. Even if your alone. Think of a funny joke, watch a funny movie, talk to a friend about crazy things you used to do and smile. Not only will a smile lift your spirits but it can lift others spirits as well.
  • Help others be lights. Talk to your children and loved ones. Encourage them to reach out to someone and help them or even just text someone and say “I’m here if you need anything”. We all know the more lights there are the brighter the room is.
  • Talk to God. Let him guide you. Tell him your fears, let him lead your path during these uncertain times. Most importantly, pray for others. Lift them up and help speak hope and peace back into their lives.

Of course, these are just a few things you can do to be a light to others. There are so many ways we can reach out to others and bring a little light into this dark world right now. I would love to hear from any of you about ways that you have been a light? It is great to see good news for once. There are many people out there who are trying their best to make this world a better place. How much different would the world look right now if everyone chose light over darkness? Even under circumstances beyond our control. I truly believe there would be a lot less fear, hopelessness, depression, and disconnect. This world would look much different. I encourage each and every one of you to be a light to someone today. Let’s all make this world shine so bright that darkness can never creep in.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16.

I hope your light is shining bright today and that you are covered with many blessings.

Love and Hugs,

Jennifer

Donuts, Dog, and sweatpants

This past December my daughters bought me the cutest sweatshirt for a birthday gift. It has quickly become my go to sweatshirt. You know what I am talking about? That perfect piece of clothing with the soft lining and a little oversized for maximum comfort. The one you wear so much, that you eventually get holes in or completely wear it out. Yes, that is the one it has become my absolute favorite!! I reach for it anytime I am home and want to be comfortable. Hey, I reach for even when I’m going out too and just want to be comfortable. If you see me, well you will probably see me wearing this at some time. The front of the sweatshirt has writing that simply says: Donuts, Dogs, and Sweatpants. When I first opened the gift and saw this on the front, I actually had to giggle. Why? Because my girls know me so well!! Yes, one can definelty say that donuts, dogs, and sweatpants are three of my absolute favorite things in the whole world, besides my beautiful family of course. As I was folding the sweatshirt the other day after being washed and I read the saying that is on the front. It got me thinking about all the things that not only bring me comfort, but about what brings comfort to others as well. What is it that brings you comfort? Yes, I love my yummy glazed donuts, laying on the couch and snuggling with my dog, and a comfy sweatshirt and sweatpants. All of these things are tangible. However, my true comfort comes from God. He is the one that brings me the most comfort when I need it the most.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8-9.

A donut is truly delicious. One of the best things about donuts, is the countless options you have to choose from. Original, chocolate, glazed, and some even with delicious filling. Unfortunately, I am from a very small town so we do not have a place here to buy fresh donuts. Well, now that I think about it, maybe that is a good thing. It is no secret to my family when we go out of town and there is a Krispy Kreme, that I will be there to buy some delicious donuts. In fact, when we see that infamous red sign on, we stop traffic and do whatever we have to do to get there as fast as possible. No joke, we are crazy over donuts. They are just so delicious and truly are at the top of my comfort foods. What is your comfort food? Do you take extra measures to just get one bite of something that you love? What if we were to run to God like we do when that red sign is on a Krispy Kreme? When we have a craving for a taste of comfort, we can also run to him. God will feed our souls with his word. Whatever may be going in our lives, God is there. He will always be there to provide the peace and comfort our hearts desire. God is our comfort when our soul needs to be fed.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Johns 6:35.

Just like that cozy loungewear and delicious donut, I also find comfort in spending time with my family and my dogs. As I am sure it is true for most of us, my family is my entire world. The reason I live and breathe. It is no secret they are my true joy and peace. My dogs, who we treat like they are our family, also play an integral part in allowing me to feel joy, peace, and solace. In fact, there has been research done that dogs can reduce anxiety and bring comfort to those in need. It is not uncommon to see dogs used for therapeutic purposes in this day and age. Emotional support animals, dogs who aid in the care of disabled individuals, and even dogs brought into medical facilities and schools to help improve the individuals there are all ways we see dogs helping people cope. There has been many days that I really felt like I needed a friend, and my dogs have been there and helped me get out of a not so healthy headspace. God can also help you when a shift of focus. It is so important to remember God is our friend. A loyal friend that will never leave us and will always be there to be the light on a day that may seem dark. Feel his embrace and hear his words when you need comfort. Find peace in just sitting and talking to him like you would a friend. His love is constant and never changes.

Praise be to the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort this in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4.

I love having things in my life that bring me comfort. I will admit I cannot live without my comfy clothes, favorite foods, and my sweet little doggies. However, there is no comfort like that of God. He touches my heart, feeds my soul, and wraps me in such a safe embrace that there is nothing in the world that can bring me peace like him. He is everything that I need. I encourage everyone that needs to find comfort and peace to run to him. Lay everything at his feet, and get comfortable because he will always take care of you.

I pray each of you are finding comfort today and are filled with many blessings.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Overcoming Infidelity

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1Peter4:8

In order to get to know me, you have to get to know the reasons behind what made me what I am today. As I mentioned in my About Me page, my personal marriage struggles has been the biggest thing that has shaped me into the person I am today. In fact it is my biggest testimony. I once had a wise friend, counselor, and teacher tell me one day my mess would become my message. I’ll tell you at the time, I thought she was one crazy lady!! But you know what? She was right!! More than right, in fact I think she may have written my story before it ever happened. I know there are many stories out there just like mine. Many people going through the same things, or worse and many people with bigger problems than mine. In fact every time I get on social media or the internet, I realize I am not alone. I applaud all those men and women out there that stand up and share their stories. No one really knows until it happens to them the feelings that come along with it. I’m not writing this to seek sympathy, to share my dirty laundry, or embarrass my family. I’m sharing it because my mess has become my message. And I pray by reading it, that hope and encouragement will touch someone who may be reading it.

This is not easy but here it goes:

My husband Ryan and I started dating at age 15!! Wow, that’s hard to believe. Even though we were young we quickly fell for each other, and our love story began. We dated all through high school and the start of college, and by the age of 19 we were engaged and then married on August 3rd, 1996. Now it may seem like a fairy tale, but our relationship was far from perfect. Chalk it up to being young, immature, or other reasons, but our relationship had issues that I think most couples face. Despite the small issues I was always still very confident in the fact that no matter what, Ryan would never hurt me. Yes, I was one of those women that would say my husband would never do that to me.

The years passed and along comes our four daughters. We seemed to be just moving through the world as a normal family would. Then in 2011, I noticed a huge shift in my husband, he had become almost a stranger to me. He was distant, degrading, and overall just not good to me. We had began hanging out with a group of couples that we met through our church we were attending. There was several couples, but one in particular that we got closer to. I will say from the very first day I met them, my gut was saying something was off. But I am one of these that I always root for the underdog, and seeing that most other people did not like them, I felt sorry for them and decided to really befriend them. We spent a lot time together, and our lives, our kids everything became intertwined.

My worst nightmare came true when in the Spring 2012, while away on a Spring Break vacation with my daughters, sister, and friends, I got a call that my husband was caught with the wife of the other couple by her husband. As you can imagine my world crashed. This was my husband, the father of my kids, the man I said would never do this me. And he did it to me with a woman who had become what I thought was my best friend. I also found out it had been an ongoing 2 year affair. Two years of lies, deceit, manipulation, hurt and pain. I will spare the details of the days, weeks, months that passed after I found out. That is something I will continue to write about in future posts. There are many details, many feelings, many things to write about that I will share. For this post, I just wanted to share the backstory so you would know me a little better and know where my heart is.

I don’t want this post again to be about gaining sympathy, and in no way do I want embarrassment brought to my family. I also am not on here to bash my husband, and I certainly do not want others to do that. I just want to let others know that no matter how hard the road is in your marriage you can make it. You can overcome infidelity. You can forgive, you can move on, you can trust again. You can come out on the other side. You just have to make the choice to do the work. I chose to do the work, I choose to still do the work, and most importantly I decided to let God guide me in my decisions after the betrayal. That was not an easy task, because in this situation there is so much anger, bitterness, pain, and raw emotion. There are a lot days you just want to hate, scream, and hurt those who betrayed you back. It takes a lot of self-discipline, strength, self-reflection, and prayers.

It will be shocking for you all to hear that I can say after time has passed that this hurt that happened, has actually been a big blessing to me. Sounds crazy, huh? It wasn’t a blessing as far as the pain and brokenness that it caused, of course not. And I also can’t say that there still isn’t negativity that comes from it , because there is. But, oh boy, did it make me learn what a strong woman I really am. I am fierce, I have a voice, I have power, and I can do anything!! As an insecure person all my life, what a blessing it is that through this I am able to to discover that. And you can to. You will make it. It is so important for me to tell someone that. I wish I had more people that did to me. Unfortunately I pretty much fought my battle alone. I had friends before this, but after this happened I was left in the dust. Sure, a couple of people were there a few weeks after it happened, but then it is as if everyone just disappeared. I’m still confused by this and why it happened, but it was another lesson that came out of this also, be careful who your friends are. But that is one of the main reasons I want to share my story, because I know how it is to fight this battle alone, and trying to figure what the next step will be.

I look forward to sharing more of my story with you, and I would love to hear from you about your story or any questions you may have. I can’t wait for us to grow together . Just remember you are one strong lady!!!

Hugs and love,

Jennifer

God is within her she will not fall Psalm 46:5

Live in Love

Do everything in love. Corinthians 16:14

Recently my family and I took our two oldest daughter’s jeeps and spent the day exploring a jeep trail called Shepherd Trail here in Kentucky. Our youngest daughter, Abby, was at a friend’s house that day so we were missing her, but we had such a wonderful day together on our jeep adventure. My family has always loved to look for new adventures to take and fun things to do together . I am proud to say that we do make an effort to do things often as a family. I believe one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is your time. I feel so very blessed also, that they want to spend time with my husband and myself.

The trail is a 38 mile narrow road that winds through the mountain and has several overlooks where you can stand and enjoy the scenery. With the fresh air of the jeeps the trail was just incredible. It felt like we were riding through an enchanted forest. The wind in our hair and the music playing in the background as we made our way down the narrow trail was something we all needed, just to feel free.

I loved looking back and seeing my girls, and our fur-babies, taking in the view with huge smiles on their faces. To me, that is a beautiful sight. There is nothing better than seeing your kids smile. I also found myself thinking how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place. Y’all, if you have never been to Kentucky, you must come for a visit soon. I believe we live in one of the prettiest places on earth. I am proud to be from the mountains here. I am so very grateful to say it is my home.

The views from the overlook areas were beyond breathtaking. It really felt like you were looking at a picture. As I looked out at the view, I again, was so grateful that God has blessed me to live in such a beautiful place with picture perfect scenery painted all around me by his hand. As I was enjoying the wind in my hair, the freedom of riding, and the gorgeous scenery I can say that I did not have a worry in the world. The anxiety from all the stressors going on in the world right now had left me for those moments. I was free to watch the joy in my children’s faces, to be thankful, and feel blessed. I cherished every moment I was free to just live in a moment of peace, blessings, and love. It truly was a wonderful time.

On our way home and for the days that have followed our little jeep adventure I did some thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could live everyday like I did that day. What if we could just live everyday with joy and love. To feel free and blessed and take in the air, the scenery, and truly just be thankful for what is all around you. To feel the wind in your hair that makes you forget about your worries. What a world that would be.

Our world lately has been one that I no longer recognize. It has become a world that I am scared for my kids to grow up and live in. A world that I will pray that will rise above all that is going on and become a world of love, peace, and kindness. I hope one day soon each and every person will be able to feel that wind and feel free of the terrible things that are happening now. I want everyone to not only to have that freedom, but to live a life that is filled with love.

Elle, Emma, and Taylor(missing Abby that day)

Between Covid-19 and now the unrest in the country it is hard to think that we will ever be able to live a life full of peace and love. The divide in our world, and our country is a strong one. There is a lot of fear, bitterness, loneliness, and unkindness that is looming in today’s society. It doesn’t feel like the same world I grew up in. It is hard for me to understand how people can hurt others so much. I have always taught my kids to be kind to everyone and that all people are equal and we all have the same father, our God. I have tried to teach them the importance of being a good daughter, sister, friend, and neighbor. I am proud of them to because they all seem to have servant hearts as well. They are always looking for ways to help others. The most important thing I have tried to teach them is that LOVE never fails, never. If we choose to live a life of love and loving on others, we will not fail. Will there still be problems? Of course, that is part of life. However, choosing love and kindness is always the best option. We must treat others the way we would want to be treated. So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12.

Peace and love may not be in the minds of most people these days. I also know there are many leaders and others out there that are struggling to find a way just to make things some what normal again (If it can be). One thing I know is that the one person that can make each person and this world whole, that is our great God. I believe with him we can all be healed, and with him this world can be healed. God is perfect love. It is his love that will make people feel the way I did that day in the jeep. His love will make you feel like your hair is blowing in the wind and feeling a rush of fresh air. His love will make you feel joy and thankfulness. His love will show you the way to treat others. His love will fill your life with peace and contentment. And all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14. Our God can bring unity, peace, and love to everyone. I encourage each of you to put your hope and trust in him. To live a life like God intended for us. To live a life in love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13.

I pray that I can be a reflection of love to each of you. I pray you are safe and healthy and covered in many blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Be Kind

This week has been a really tough week for me. I am not sure if it is the stress from having to stay home, hormones, or a combination of those things. It has just been a very tough week. To top it off I had to step into an unfortunate situation this week involving my daughter in which I had to defend her. It was definitely not what I needed on top of a week that was already turning out to be a stressful one for me. I know I should never complain. It most definitely could be much worse. My family is healthy and safe, and that I am thankful for. Especially with everything going on from this terrible virus that is invading our lives. As we all know though, even when we are thankful for good things, sometimes the sadness can still creep in.

As I mentioned in another blog, I do suffer from anxiety. It is something I have dealt with my whole life. The area I suffer the most is social anxiety. It is so difficult for me to be in crowds, or in groups of people, both big and small. I know, it doesn’t make since why then the quarantine would be adding to my stress, because it takes me away from all that. The stress comes from just not being able to live our lives in the “normal” way we are accustomed to. I am stressed for my kids and the activities, memories, and friends they are missing. I am stressed for my husband and the extra burden he is having to carry financially. I am stressed that someone in my family will become ill. Basically, I just stress over everything, and do enough worrying for everyone. It is just my nature.

Even though this week has been hard, and the stress has seemed to be an extra burden for me this week, I can still say I have grown a lot over the past few days. That growth has come because I was reminded of the importance of being KIND to everyone. I will say this week, kindness was something that was a challenge for me. No I am not a mean hateful person, but the burdens that were on my heart was making it difficult to reach for that kindness. The stress I was feeling made me just want to lay around and be sad. I had no energy, and not much motivation to do anything. And then I also had the unfortunate incident with my daughter. I can honestly say when this happened, kindness was not something that came to my mind. They hurt my daughter, so my first reaction was that I wanted to hurt them in return. Fortunately , I took some time to pray and reflect before I took any action. As a Christian, I wanted God to guide me in how to handle the situation. Somehow, I was able let the stress from the week go, and I dealt with the situation with kindness and respect. Was this difficult to do? Yes. Especially because my daughter was hurting. Did I receive kindness back? Unfortunately no. I actually received rudeness and negativity in return. And guess what? I am ok with that. After the anxiety I was feeling from the week, you would think that I would not be. However, I had to get back in touch with reality and realize who I really was, and show others the same thing. I never want to be seen as an ugly, rude person. I want to be seen as someone who shines light, love, and kindness no matter what the circumstances. Yes, this week was tough for me and no matter how many times I tried to just give my worries to God, a new one would come in. So the burdens felt heavy. But I did not want those burdens to make me into something that I was not.

We should always be mindful that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is never an excuse to be unkind to anyone else. The stress we are feeling at home, work, or anything else should never carry into how we choose to treat others. Kindness and respect should always be our top priority. Yes, even when someone hurts us. I know, as I said this is so difficult to do. I was faced with that this week. You never know, though, what others are dealing with also. They may be having a bad day or bad week, and their behavior is reflecting that. Your words to them may be the only thing they hear that day. Do you want to add to someone’s burdens or ease them? I want to be someone’s light for the day, even if they do not want to see it. Even if they have nothing kind to say to me, I want to show them my heart is not only full of love and kindness, but a reflection of grace and kindness. Isn’t that what God commands us to do? To love, respect, forgive, and treat others like we would like to be treated?

Take the time to always treat people with kindness, and yes there will be times you do not get it in return. Just remember the light you shine today, will be remembered tomorrow. So be the reason someone smiles today because you never know what someone is going through. Let’s all make the world a kinder place for all of us.

Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32.

I hope each of you are covered in many blessings and an abundance of kindness today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Strong Faith

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25.

As a Christian there are many people that I have admired and been inspired by throughout my journey. I have had the privilege of being witness to several woman who have been shining examples of not only Christians, but mothers, wives, leaders, entrepreneurs, and friends. There are strong women everywhere. Society over the course of the past several years has also began, I feel, to celebrate and empower women more than they have ever done in the past. As a mother of four daughters, it is important to me that they become strong women, and by having good examples of that it will definitely help guide them along the way.

Of all the strong women I have had the privilege to know one of the ones I admire the most is my husband’s grandmother, Billie. I remember when I was a teenager and first began to date my husband she welcomed me into the family instantly. It was like she had known me forever. I knew from the first moment I met her that there was something very special about her. There really are no words to describe what it is. Her spirit was just magnetic. You can’t help but to be drawn to her. Billie has always been one of those ladies who was always doing for others, but rarely doing for herself. I remember anytime we would call and tell her we were craving some of her delicious gravy and biscuits, she would stop what she was doing and make it for you. Once Ryan and I were married and had children she was always cooking for us, buying gifts for the girls, and volunteering to babysit. Oh, she always loved to babysit the girls, they had the best time together.

Billie has always just enjoyed life and she really doesn’t let much bring her down. She always finds a way to have joy in her heart. That joy comes from the relationship she has with God. Since I have know her, God has always been at the center of her life. Nothing ever came before that. To her, that is where all the blessings flow. Her faith has all been something I have so admired. Yes, I have faith, but hers is not easily shaken. For someone who has been through everything that she has, and still have unwavering faith, now that is something. Billie, in her lifetime, has lived through wars, depression, deaths of many loved ones ( including her husband), a stroke, the current pandemic , and many other trials. Yet, with all these, her faith has always remained strong. The stroke Billie had a few years ago left her confined to a wheelchair. She was always so active and overall healthy. I remember her always playing on the floor with my girls, singing, dancing, playing jokes on people(she loves to do that), she could do anything we could. But now she is unable to move her legs, and has weakness in her arms as well. Despite all this, she has the best attitude. She not one time has ever complained or asked why me? Her faith remains strong. Through it all, and even what is happening in the world now, she just smiles and says “Well, we are just going to pray about it.” And that is exactly what she does.

The whole Johns crew

I can tell you this I will spend the rest of my life to strive to be more like Billie. To always keep God as the center of my life, to always keep joy in my heart, to laugh and love with abundance, and to have such a strong faith that nothing will hold me down. The world would be a much better place if we could all be even half of the person she is. I pray that each and every person that reads this will develop a strong faith that never waivers no matter what storms you are facing. I am so blessed that I have someone like Billie in my life, and I pray that you do too.

God is within her she will not fall. Psalm 46:5

I pray for health and safety for all of you today and that each of you are covering with many blessings.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Be Still

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10.

I don’t know about everyone else but I am one of these people that wants an answer to EVERYTHING!! If I don’t know the answer myself then I go searching for it. I ask others, I read books, I search on the internet or social media or reach for anything that will help me find the answer I am looking for. I honestly cannot stand to not have the answer for everything. It is so hard for me to not have an explanation for some things. It really just stresses me out!!! I also do not just want the answer for me, but I also want to find out all the answers for my kids, my husband, and all my loved ones. I am not sure why this is? Maybe it is the just the need to fix everything for everyone, or just make sure everything is ok. I am a creature of habit, so to go off the routine or adding something that makes things a little different can also be scary to me. That is why I am always trying to look for the answer, trying to solve the issue, and making sure everything is running as normal. I just have the need for everything to be ok for everyone, including myself.

We all know the past few weeks, our world has not been ok. We are all facing a giant with this virus, that really, most of us did not see coming. Sure, we all watched the news and saw what was happening in China and Italy. However, most of us never thought we would be dealing with the same thing and in the level that we are dealing with it. I believe it was a shock to all our systems. The whole world is facing the fact that everything is not ok. We are all facing what we call a new type of normal in our lives right not. Staying at home, the social distancing, stores and jobs coming to a halt, home-schooling our kids, all of these things have now become our new daily lives.

As I said, the last few weeks have been difficult for me because I want everything to be ok or “normal”. I have found myself watching the news on TV to see what the experts or saying, or digging into articles, etc. to try and find the answer to how I can make things better or feel like everything is ok again. Why did all this happen? Why are so many getting sick? How do we help? How do we stop this from happening again. The what, why, when, and who has been deep in my thoughts. I, again, just have to figure it all out.

Then the other day, my husband made a statement that made me think I may have found the answer I was searching for. He said maybe this is one of the ways God is showing all of us that is just time to BE STILL!! No, I am not saying this is answer for the virus or everything that is happening. However, I am saying that God can make beautiful things out of ugly ones. He can use this time to bring families closer, to make people start opening their eyes on what really is important in their lives, and to deeper the connection with him. Maybe this is the world’s wake-up call to open our eyes about where our hearts are, and shift our focusing from a selfish way of life to one of love, kindness, giving, and acceptance. To make us not only love our families better, but to love EVERYONE. It is our responsibility, as Christians, to make the world a better place.

God is giving you the time now to BE STILL. He is giving you that time to spend time with your family and make your bonds stronger. He is giving you the time to reach out to others and help during this crucial time. He is giving you the time away from your hectic schedules to grab that bible you have not picked up and read and know him better. He is saying Be Still and know that I am God. Praise him, thank him, for giving the precious gift of time to be able to know him better. What a gift it is to sit in silence, without the busy noise around, and hear him talk to you. Yes, the world is scary right now, and we have so many uncertainities but we can all use this extra time that we have to take the opportunity to strengthen our bonds with God, family, and friends and cherish the time to just BE STILL.

I pray despite it all, that each of you are covered in many blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Do Not Fear

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

This past week has been an uncertain, and I must say a very scary time for our country, and our world. The COVID-19 virus has taken over life as we know it. Just in the past week we all have had our lives turned upside down and we are having to learn to adjust to a new normal. A new normal of the now well know topic of “social distancing”, along with homeschooling, working from home, stockpiling supplies and groceries, and the confinement of staying at home due to the closure of restaurants and stores. This new normal is difficult for people who live in a country where we have always had the freedom to do what we please, and live our lives with such comfort and ease that we have had rarely had to think about the basic necessity of survival. I would say 9/11 was the closest we have all gotten to really having our lives forever changed and the uncertainty and fear that has also come along with the virus we are facing today.

In just a blink of an eye, our world is completely different. Last week I went to a grocery store with well-stocked shelves, and passed on getting toilet paper because we had a few rolls already at home. This week the same grocery store had empty shelves and had me kicking myself I didn’t buy that toilet paper because there is now a shortage. Two weeks ago I bought my 18 year old her senior prom dress and watched her smile and laugh with excitement as she tried her dress on looking forward to her very last prom. Now, this week we are being told more than likely they will not be returning to school and that means no prom, no graduation, no more senior memories for her. My heart truly aches for all my children, but it really does for her as this was supposed to be such a special memorable time for her.

So what are we supposed to do when we are facing such scary and uncertain times? How do we ease our children’s fear and anxiety through this? How do we calm our own anxieties and worry? These are all really hard questions, and because everyone is unique and deals with things differently there may be ways one person handles a situation that works better for them. As a Christian, I am doing my best to handle the situation the only way I know how with God by my side.

Here are a few tips that I am encouraging not only myself to follow but my family as well:

  • PRAY. Pray for our world, our country, your community, your family, your friends. Talk to him. Tell him your worries and concerns. Pray that we soon can get back to what we know as normal. Pray for a cure. Pray for those who are already sick to be healed. Pray for a hedge of protection for your loved ones and others. Just give everything to him. Prayer is so powerful, and trust me it works!! I prayed to the Lord and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Psalm 3:14.
  • Don’t allow FEAR to rule your life. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done. It is difficult for me as well. However, we cannot live our lives in fear. We just can’t. We must stay strong, and lay all of our worries at God’s feet. We must make sure our kids see that we are strong and not living in a state of panic or fear. It is important for their mental well-being that we do this. Kids are so vulnerable, and so it is important for us to create an atmosphere of peace for them. Stay strong and don’t let the fear take over, live your life!! Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue. Isaiah 35:4.
  • Focus on the GOOD. I always try to find blessings out of every situation I am put in. Even the messy ones. Yes, the world is a scary and messy place right now. However, let’s try and find some good things to pull out of this. The first thing I can think of is that I get to spend more time with my family. Now that we are all home, we can spend more quality time together. Last night, we had a family game night and just chatted. It has been a long time since we have gotten to do that. So that was a huge blessing. Instead of focusing on the negativity and fear, reset your mind and always search for the good and the hope. An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. Proverbs 12:25.
  • Know God is in CONTROL. You may be scared, your children may be scared and worried, but God is with you. Lean on him for your strength to get through this. Allow him to be your rock. When you feel the anxiety taking over your mind, pray and know that God is in control of this situation and he will never leave your side. Let him guide you to learn how to deal with the new normal we are all facing, let him show you that through him, you are strong. Peace is what I leave with you, it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. John 14:27.

Just know I will be praying for everyone during this time, and I pray that very soon this uncertain time will be over. I know you are all scared, but I also pray that each of you are covered with many blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer